The incredible amount of data generated by smart meters and the smart grid will drive the global smart grid market from $12.8 billion today to $34.2 billion in 2020, according to a new report from Lux Research. As smart grids are rolled out, the quantity of data that utilities will need to communicate, manage and analyze will rise 900% over the next decade, the new report titled “The Data Revolution: How Intelligent Hardware Will Drive the $34 Billion Smart Grid” predicts.

“Many people think ‘smart meters’ when you talk about the smart grid, because meters will generate most of the new data,” said Steve Minnihan, a researcher for Lux Research and the report’s lead author, in an announcement of the findings.  “But the volume of data generated isn’t the only factor fueling growth in the smart grid market. Intelligent distribution applications, for example, can isolate an electrical fault and restore power in a matter of seconds. While such applications generate less data than smart meters, their data carries a far greater value.”

Other key report findings:

  • Led by China, Asia will generate the most growth in smart grid data.
  • The smart meter market will plateau at $4 billion by the middle of this decade and begin declining in 2018 as the largest markets approach saturation. But intelligent distribution hardware will see continued expansion throughout the decade.
  • The smart grid will be an “explosive growth opportunity” for telecom and information technology giants such as Cisco, General Electric, and Oracle.

The Lux Research report is based on a bottom-up analysis of existing smart grid rollouts as well as targets put forth by utilities and regulators. It also took a top-down approach, factoring in the maximum penetration rates for different grid technologies based on a cost-benefit analysis.

The research helps pinpoint some of the business opportunity related to the smart grid trend. Warehousing, analysis, and interpretation of all of that data presents a tangible business opportunity for telecom and IT players, as the utilities industry will look to mine and leverage that mountains of data.

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